Calling all fans of fractals, international-criminal conspiracies and the End of Days: Your ship has come in.
Is it just a coincidence that someone, acting with surgical precision, has bombed the Amsterdam hotel room of Harvard mathematician James Fenster, author of the paper “The Inevitability of a One-World Economy,” shortly after a suicide bomber of the self-anointed Soldiers of Rapture has blown up himself and five innocents in Milan and a much-loved gang counselor is shot to death in Barcelona, a Scriptural passage pinned to her corpse? Interpol Inspector Henri Poincaré, the namesake whose great-grandfather, mathematician and physicist, was one of the pioneers of relativity theory, thinks not. He’s convinced that the key to Fenster’s death lies in his work on fractals, patterns that repeat themselves from microscopic to planetary levels. But Poincaré’s investigation faces an astronomical number of obstacles. Two key persons of interest, Fenster’s ex-fiancée Madeleine Rainier and his star graduate student Dana Chambi, answer his questions evasively and then disappear. Imprisoned Bosnian war criminal Stipo Banovi, blaming Poincaré for his capture, hires assassins to eliminate his wife, son and grandchildren. Felix Robinson, the new Head of Interpol, demands that Poincaré retire from fieldwork immediately. And the Soldiers of Rapture, eerily prefiguring the summer and fall of 2011, announce that the world will end at 11:38 a.m. on August 15—a moment that provides a suitably dramatic backdrop for the otherwise muffled climax of Rosen’s hugely ambitious debut thriller.
First in a proposed series, though it’s hard to imagine its sequels topping it for sheer chutzpah.